Flew out to Vegas Sunday July 7th with my dad. I have set my plan to play in the $550 4pm Satellite this same day for a shot at the WSOP Main Event.
We flew out of Cleveland around 7am and got into vegas around 10:30-11am. My dad and I arrive at the RIO and we can’t check in. We put our bags with the bellhop and make hang out a bit. I really wanted to go be back in the poker area when day 1B of the WSOP Main event starts so we walk all the way back there, to see what is going on.
This is the first time I have ever been out to Vegas during the WSOP while the main was going. For the past 4 years we have always come early in the series, and I have taken a shot at a $1000 or a $1500 event and have not had anything to write home about. We saw the opening ceremony, where Doyle started things off, and then took his seat in the Main to a huge ovation from the crowd.
My dad and I have some lunch and then I made a plan to go play some cash games before the satellite, and he went to the Palms / Gold Coast to play Blackjack and Craps.
I sat down around 12:44pm Vegas time with $200 at a 1-3 NL table at the Rio to get warmed up for the day. Little did I know that this would be the start of something much longer than expected.
By 1:24pm I had already run my stack up to $724 at this table. I knew I wanted to play the $550 at 4pm, and I was already up enough to fund it. I cashed out for $694 at 2:53pm and bought into the satellite.
I spent the next hour rushing to the front desk, to check into the hotel, pick up my Dad and my bags and get into the room. The line at the counter was pretty long so this took a good 45 minutes or so.
4pm – $550 WSOP Main Event Satellite. Last shot at the main event that I was going to buy into so I thought. This is pretty much the one tourney I came to play. We only got 4,000 tourney chips in this tournament, but blinds started at 25-25 with 30 minute levels, so I thought there would still be some play. I basically doubled my stack early in the first level with pocket 10’s.
We started the second level, I was dealt pocket kings and doubled up a guy with Pocket 9’s after he flopped a 9 on a Q high board. Just like that I was back down to 3750 in chips.
I was dealt pocket pairs four or five times in the next level, from 77, 88, 1010, JJ. I played most of these multiway pots where I tried to set trap. I missed every flop with them, and since we only had 4K in chips, I got short quickly and ended up having to commit with 77. I ran into AA and just like that I was out of the event at 5:12pm.
They had moved the 3pm Daily Deepstack from 3pm to 6pm due to the fact that the Main event was going on, as well as all the satellites. There was a 1pm $1,000 satellite that had over 1,000 runners, awarding 101 seats to the Main. It was madness in the pavilion room that day.
They didn’t have enough tables in Pavilion to handle the tournament, so there were 14 additional tables that were set up down the hallway on the way back to the convention space. I buy into the $235 6pm Deepstack and of course, I am out in the hallway.
They call this section ‘Buzios’.
I get to the table for my starting stack of T15K. I do love these chips, they are the ones they used back in 2005 or 2006 for the Main, but the 25K chip caused way too much confusion and they got new ones that are now used for most of their events. They still use these chips for the employees event #1 every year, and now they use them for the deepstacks. I happen to have a huge set of these chips at home that are the same colors and graphics, but don’t say Rio on them. This is my tourney chip set though that we have been using at my home game for the past 5 or so years.
I chipped up a bit early but got my first double in this thing with A4. Flop came out 644 and I was able to double through a big stack at the table. Was up to 42K in chips at the 400 bb level.
I gave my dad a call to come say hi to me in the hallway. He showed up and within a couple minutes I was delt KK and AA. Both hands had a shorty just blow up and shove back at my open. I felted two in those back to back hands. Was up to 76K at that point at the 600 bb level.
I kept chipping up, was dealt AA again and again had someone shove a gift of Q8 offsuit into me. Up to 131K at the 4k bb level.
We went on break around 1:22AM at this point, and there was some excitement over in the single table satellite area. 10 people had put up $1,050 each to play a single hand for a main event seat. About 100 people gathered around the single table to watch it go down. One player was delt AK and with the K high board he took it down for the ME seat.
The field of 862 had whittled down, and by 2:06am we were hand for hand. My stack saw some swings from a peek of 171k down to 117k as the bubble broke. 90 players were now ITM, but a min cash was less than $400.
2:24am , I get the full double to 265k, don’t even remember the hand, but do remember I was way ahead and it wasn’t much of a sweat. From here I quickly started picking players off, and chipped up to 465k before 3am.
I get it all-in good against another large stack on the flop with him drawing to the two remaining kings in the deck. He catches the two outter on the river to knock me back down to 155k.
I crawled back to 264k, and then I got delt AA. We had a 3 way all in AA > KK > AJ and just like that I had 504k at 4:06am. Dwight Pilgrim was seated at my table around 3:30 am and was making things difficult with his massive chip stack. I took a stand against him and picked up a nice pot taking me to 684k at 4:31am.
At 4:46 I got invovled in the biggest pot of the tournement for me. I looked down at AKcc when big blind was 30k. Dwight opened and I 3 bet him, he came over the top with a 4 bet for his entire stack of 500k. At this point I wasn’t loving my hand, but I had him covered by about 250k. We had 30 people left in the tourney at this point. He said ‘lets do this, lets play a million dollar pot’ I made the call and he flipped over AJ offsuit. The board ran out dry and I knocked him out and had 1.2 Million in chips at 4:46 am still at the 30k bb level.
This was pretty much the last hand of any value I picked up or played post flop even though I was clearly the tournament chip leader. I went card dead after this, lost a few, doubled some shorties, and just kinda waited it out.
As the blinds were escalating, people were dropping like flies and the payouts kept bumping up. I was not getting hands, but was trying to just pick up the blinds and anties every once in a while.
I went from chip leader, to under chip average, as the bustouts continued, but I was able to navigate my way to the final table while maintaining between 600-900k. We were at 18 players at 5:20 am official final table of 10 at 6:29 am. It was moving fast.
When we got down to 6 players. it was 7am. We had been talking about chop value when we were at 8 and then at 7 players, but when we got to 6, the table dynamic had changed. We had two big stacks and 4 shorties. I was by far the shortest with 635k and big blind was 120k!! We stepped away to talk chop, as the equal chop value was over $15,000 but with the two big stacks they wanted more. No problem, I offered them $20,000 each, the four small stacks would still get around $12. We had some issues with language barriers as two of the players were from Brazil. We also had some tax concerns since any winnings by those Brazilians would be taxed immediately. We talked for about 5 min, but couldn’t get it to a point where everyone was happy so we went back to playing.
So at 7:08 we went back to playing poker. No one wanted to bust 6th as the payout was only $5700. We were getting to the point where all four short stacks were getting in danger with less than 1M in chips. I tried again to get a chop going. Everyone was willing to step away again and talk it out at 7:25am.
Paper, pens, calculators, and negotiations all went down. It got complicated but in the end, everyone agreed, we shook hands talked about being best friends, and drinking beers, got our places, and went to go collect our $$. I was the chop facilitator so I handled all the $$ getting it to everyone. We had the Brazilians take 5th and 6th place such that the taxes taken off the top would maximize the cash we would have. I took 3rd and the other short stack took 4th, and the two big stacks that were getting $20k were willing to take the 1st and 2nd places.
We claimed our cash in reverse order such that we were all waiting there for first place to get the $34,000 payout.
Once we had all been paid we had about $98,000 in 10k bricks laid out. I paid everyone what was agreed, we all double counted it, and then we had about $130 extra. Not sure how that happened, but we just split it 6 ways again.
I walked away from my $235 with $12,248. In all my chop negotiations, I made it clear that I wanted to play the main. We took some photos of us with more than we actually won, just for fun.
I tweeted out at 7:42am that I was selling 20% of my main event seat. I called my wife told her of the good news, my Dad showed up while we worked the cash chop, and at 8:09am I bought into the Main event with $10,000 cash.
The tourney started in 3 hours and 51 minutes! I go back to the room to try and get some rest, but I can’t sleep. Plus my phone is buzzing like crazy with people back home saying congrats or buying a piece of my Main. By 8:30am I had sold 14% and by 9:30 I sold all that I was going to sell of 16%.
I rested in bed, but never slept, I was too excited for the day ahead. I got cleaned up, showered, got down there for the start of things……